Crime, Not Guns or Racism, Is Our Ongoing Problem

Many years ago, I was mowing a lady’s lawn on a hot summer day. The lady lived in a small cottage in a barrio on the west side of San Antonio, and “hot summer day” meant about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

I was relatively young and fit, and as I was wearing a straw hat, the heat wasn’t bothering me too much. But the thought of my dropping dead of heatstroke in her yard bothered the lady considerably, so she came out on her porch and ordered me inside her house.

She sat me down in her cool, dark parlor and gave me a glass of lemonade. I perched on the edge of the sofa, not wanting to sweat all over it, and drank the lemonade, looking around the room. Among the family photos on the walls was a portrait of my hostess as a young woman, in a 1940s hairdo and looking as lovely as a movie star. Think Gail Russell.

Mrs. Salas was a retired nurse, and I respected and appreciated her concern for my health and welfare, as well as her professional estimation of the danger I’d been in. The upshot was that I came back in the cool of the evening to finish her lawn. But during our conversation that day, something came up that stuck with me.

Some recent arrivals from Mexico lived just down the street from her, fresh off the turnip truck and probably “undocumented.” It bothered her that they didn’t keep their yard up. Tall grass and trash were everywhere. From what she said about it, I gathered she was no fan of illegal immigration, but “white supremacy” obviously had nothing to do with it.

Let’s put my kindly, saintly lady at one end of the spectrum of those who oppose illegal immigration. Who is at the other end? That would be people like the guy who murdered 22 men, women, and children in El Paso last week.

Naturally, Democrats and their media minions are hanging that crime around the necks of President Trump, Republicans, conservatives generally, and all who oppose illegal immigration (or increased gun control) in any degree whatsoever. Since I don’t buy that smear about my lady, I don’t buy it about the rest.

Still, some things about the El Paso massacre should be impressed on those who take our side in the great political battle in which we are now engaged.

The killer’s “manifesto” begins like this:

In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.

That’s all I know of it first hand, for I couldn’t make my way through that document to save my life. Talk about the banality of evil! Boredom with its puerile prose, combined with disgust at its author’s actions, made the thing unreadable. But I understand it ranges all over the lot. The killer is against illegal immigration, like Trump, but he’s also an environmentalist wacko, like (dare I say it?) Beto O’Rourke and virtually the entire Democratic field.

It’s worth noting that the Christchurch shooter, who killed 51 Muslims in New Zealand, also is an environmentalist wacko.

Perhaps some enthusiasts for Zero Population Growth think it’s dirty pool when fertile foreigners rush in to fill the vacuum created by the wackos’ own refusal to be fruitful and multiply? Still, none but the killers themselves should have to answer for it when environmental anti-natalism’s anti-child, anti-family ethos is taken to its inhuman conclusion.

Wacko environmentalism won’t dominate the conversation about the El Paso massacre in any case. Nor will the main topic be the hypocrisy of liberals who, while eager to blame the bloodshed on all who disagree with their open-borders stance, are equally anxious to warn us, after every new atrocity done in the name of jihad, against ascribing those crimes to Muslims in general or to Islam itself.

If liberals were capable of shame at the exposure of their hypocrisy, they’d have committed seppuku long ago. Instead, their response to such embarrassments has been (as the Instapundit loves to put it), “That’s different because shut up.”

On the right, lots of us are talking about this already. One hopes that people generally will soon get wise to the liberals’ game, and consequently get fed up with it. In the meantime, conservatives should be pondering two points.

First, Mexicans aren’t Muslims.

Is that a minor detail? Are there any imams exhorting them to cut off the heads of the infidels? Have they subjected los norteamericanos to an epidemic of ideologically driven abuse, ranging from mass murders and gang rapes to casual belligerence and hostility, as has been happening to Europeans at the hands of recent Muslim immigrants or (even more alarmingly) at the hands of hostile, unassimilated children of such immigrants? The answers are no, no, and no.

Mexicans are Christian. Less than a century ago, they suffered much more for their faith than we in the United States have yet been called to do. Most Americans have never heard of the Cristero War or of the anti-Christian persecution that provoked it, but here in San Antonio we have a basilica founded by refugees from it.

True, Mexico’s Christians were suffering at the hands of their own rotten revolutionary government, but that government is one thing they can’t bring with them when they come here.

Oh, but what about that dreaded “cultural replacement”? What’s to replace? I live in San Antonio, not St. Anthony. All over the Southwest, it’s the same story, from El Paso (the Pass) to Las Cruces (the Crosses) to Santa Fe (Holy Faith) to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles (the Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels), or L.A., for short.

As for “ethnic replacement,” consider that all of John Wayne’s three wives were Hispanic, as are all his progeny. Who’s replacing them?

I used to know someone in Tennessee who, though a nice guy, a conscientious worker and a good family man, was full of nutty ideas. His favorite epithet was “statist,” a word he applied to such things as the government presuming to pass and enforce traffic laws and requiring that motorists be licensed to drive. On taxation, he subscribed to the same theories that got actor Wesley Snipes in trouble with the IRS. On race, he expected the imminent eruption of a three-cornered war pitting whites, blacks, and Mexicans against one another.

My friend worried for me when I decided to follow in Davy Crockett’s footsteps and return to Texas, the state where I had grown up. Texas would be Hispanic territory in that three-cornered war he feared. I told him, “Man, no one is running away from Mexicans in Texas. We’re too busy marrying their daughters.”

Intermarriage may distress the very few who like to contemplate the glories of Nordic superiority, but it’s going on like gangbusters nonetheless. America contains way too many Romeos and Juliets making whoopee for my friend’s fears ever to be realized. By the time some multicultural bean counter announces that America is now a “majority-minority” nation, no one will know or care who is “Hispanic” or “Latina” or “Cablinasian” or whatever.

San Antonio is one of the most Mexican cities on the planet. We have our share of nogoodniks and ne’er-do-wells, native-born as well as imported, but nothing in my daily life makes me wish there were no Mexicans here.

In California it may be a different story, as the state is loaded with left-wing activists who stoke anti-Anglo belligerence. But in Texas—despite the fact that during America’s conquest of the Southwest, far more blood was shed here than in California—the mood is much better. Check out the short video, “What’s So Great About Texas,” toward the end of this Voice of America report on the Lone Star State’s changing demographics.

Too bad the El Paso shooter didn’t get out of his mom’s basement and take it all in, before taking out his frustrations on imaginary enemies he didn’t really have.

The second point conservatives need to consider is this: We should be talking, and thinking, and acting, much more against violent crime than we have been wont to do.

At this point, those who’ve read my previous work at American Greatness and  American Thinker may be forgiven for saying, “This is where we came in,” grabbing their coats and hats, and heading for the lobby. What more can I write that I haven’t already written?

America is now in the umpteenth iteration of the gun control debate that always follows these atrocities. Here is what I wrote after the December 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:

Whenever a gun massacre occurs, conservatives’ chronic silence about crime allows liberal gun-controllers to flatter themselves that they are the champions of public safety and the defenders of innocents, and to pass themselves off as such to the public.  These inveterate opponents of capital punishment are never made to answer for the fact that their campaign against its enforcement has caused many more Americans to die at the hands of previously convicted murderers than in any of the infamous mass shootings liberals carry on about, or in all of them put together.  And that says nothing of the hundreds of thousands of murders committed by killers undeterred by a death penalty that is hardly ever enforced. . . . Our slogan has long been: “Guns don’t kill people; people do.” Let us follow that idea to its logical conclusion. While liberals pursue their impossible dream of eliminating murder weapons, we should be setting about the very practical, effectual, and constitutional task of eliminating murderers.

After the October 2017 mass shooting of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip, I wrote:

Having everyone in that Las Vegas crowd armed and ready to shoot back would have been of little use against a sniper firing from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. Worse, a multitude of armed people at the scene would have been a big challenge to the police officers who flooded the zone soon after the massacre began. On the other hand, the first such sniper attack in U.S. history—the one perpetrated by Charles Whitman in 1966 at the University of Texas—did see civilians retrieving rifles from their vehicles and firing back at Whitman’s clocktower perch. None of their rounds hit him, but they may have made him duck a few times and lose the chance to pick off more victims. At any rate, it should do something for Americans’ self-respect to know there were some brave souls who were ready and able to fight back on that fatal day in Austin.

After the February 2018 massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, I wrote:

Will Trump treat crime as previous Republican presidents have treated it: as something to be exploited as an issue while campaigning and handled with indifference while governing?  Or will he take the steps necessary to back up his bold talk? We all await the answer.

And when, in response to the October 2018 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, the president said, “When you have crimes like this, whether it’s this one or another one on another group, we have to bring back the death penalty. They have to pay the ultimate price. They have to pay the ultimate price. They can’t do this. They can’t do this to our country,” I wrote this:

Those words were music to my ears. I hope everyone who is fed up with crime will take note of them. They bespeak anger, and they promise action. Sad to say, they came too late to help much in the midterm election. But if Trump follows through on them, it can have a huge impact in 2020.

Will the president follow through on those words, and would it have any impact in 2020?

Three years ago, Trump told the Republican National Convention: “I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon—and I mean very soon—come to an end. Beginning on January 20th, 2017, safety will be restored.” And on that January day, when he stood on the Capitol steps and took the presidential oath, he proclaimed, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

He hasn’t yet made those promises good, and it cost the Republican Party dearly last year. After the GOP’s midterm election losses, I wrote:

It’s not so much that Trump has neglected his law-and-order promises. It’s more that—other than by elevating judges like Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court—Trump’s power to do anything decisive about crime is not very obvious. But I think there is something great he can do. He can become the champion of such legal reforms, including a constitutional amendment, as would make “eliminating murderers” a feasible course of action.

And two months later, I wrote this:

To make the most of this issue, he should get much more specific, more focused on what needs to be done, what obstacles must be overcome, and how it all can help us.

The sad thing is, I have only myself to quote on this subject. Who else is even mentioning Trump’s faded law-and-order vows?

On Friday, I saw an item by Instapundit Glenn Reynolds:

A cave on gun-rights could make Trump a one-termer, the way caving on taxes did for George H.W. Bush. Democrats and the media know this, which is why they’re trying to get him to cave.

Reynolds misses the point! Bush lost in 1992 because of crime, not because of taxes. Sure, the liberals’ answer to “gun violence” is a chimera. But you can’t beat something with nothing. Neither Reynolds nor the hundreds of commenters responding to his post seem to understand that we must focus on crushing crime, not just defending gun rights.

Let liberals blather on about guns and racism. Conservatives need to find their voice again on crime and punishment. Only by doing so can we transform Trump’s promise of a quick end to “this American carnage” from forgotten braggadocio into blessed reality.

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About Karl Spence

Karl Spence is a retired journalist living in San Antonio. His work has appeared in National Review, the Chattanooga Free Press, American Thinker and at www.fairamendment.us.

Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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